Battle against deforestation/forest degradation with PERFORM
Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi (PERFORM), is a USAID/Malawi-funded project that works with the Government of Malawi and its people to promote forest conservation and green growth. In August 2016, PERFORM and WAG agreed to work together. in communities around Thuma Forest Reserve. In order to focus, PERFORM used a forest fractional cover tool (fC) to quickly identify possible hotspots of deforestation and forest degradation. The resulting map was discussed and validated by WAG, and with local communities. PERFORM, Together with WAG and the Government extension staff, PERFORM then conducted a series of Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) to understand the factors driving deforestation, and the opportunities to address these. Using the results of the PRA, since October 2016, PERFORM has supported agricultural intensification and livelihood diversification in the identified hotspots since October 2016. This has included:
- 55 Drought Tolerant Maize demonstration farms/farmers: introducing improved seeds and management practices, that have not been widely available to farmers in these areas. In addition, this will help meet food security needs in 2017.
- 606 Orange Flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP) demonstration farms/farmers: OFSP (high in Vitamin A) provides a valuable source of food – (both from leaves and tubers), and an important source of income.
- 20 Soya farms/farmers: soya is an established cash crop in Central Malawi with a ready market. Each farmer received 20kg of seed, and is committed to pass-on 20kg from the harvest to another farmer for planting next season.
“Rocketstoves” to reduce fire wood consumption
PERFORM is currenly working in communities around identified hotspots to introduce improved cookstoves. The “rocketstoves” are constructed by households using local materials, and the project provides a limited number of metal parts, which further increase stove efficiency. The rocketstoves are approximately twice as efficient as the “three stone fire” traditionally used around Thuma, and across rural Malawi. To date, 83 rocket stoves have been constructed, and stove construction will continue through October 2017 (with a target of at least 500 improved cook stoves that will be constructed this year).
In addition, target communities were supported to establish tree nurseries, and subsequently out planted more than 12,000 seedlings in woodlots and around homesteads.
PERFORM also supported the Wildlife Action Group (WAG) to design the site-based forest/carbon inventories that WAG conducted in the Thuma and Dedza-Salima Escarpment Forest Reserves in February 2017. These inventories adapted the methodology and standard operating procedures that were developed with support from PERFORM, and adopted by the Government of Malawi in December 2016. The data collected has been incorporated into a centralized forest inventory database, and through this will contribute to the country’s National Forest Inventory database.